How to Fix a Dishwasher That is Not Spraying Water

You've finally got your dishwasher after all those grueling years of manually washing dirty dishes. Exciting, right? But imagine your first time loading it up and finally getting ready to start a cycle -- it won't work. There is no water getting to your dishes.

Before running for a replacement or calling a repair tech, you can look into a few easy DIY fixes. For example, two common reasons could be poor water pressure or a clogged dishwasher hose; both are relatively easy to fix. Unfortunately, there are times that it may not be just a clogged hose or bad water pressure, and you'll need to replace the dishwasher. However, if you're up to the challenge, here are other common reasons why a dishwasher won't spray water and how to fix it.

The Dishwasher Is Overloaded

Overloading is a common reason why a dishwasher may not be spraying water. In addition, overloading can damage some dishwasher parts, such as the dishwasher pump, water inlet valve, and block the water from coming in.

To avoid overloading:

  1. Check the racks for proper installation. The racks should be flat and not slanted.

  2. Make sure not to go over the suggested load per cycle as stated by the manufacturer.

  3. Inspect the pots, pans, and glasses before loading them as well. You can also split it into multiple small loads if they don't fit all at once.Check to ensure that you've removed large food particles from the plates before putting them inside to avoid a clogged dishwasher. Then, you can sit back and relax as the machine does the rest of the work for you so your pots, pans, plates, and utensils all come out clean.

Check to ensure that you've removed large food particles from the plates before putting them inside to avoid a clogged dishwasher. Then, you can sit back and relax as the machine does the rest of the work for you so your pots, pans, plates, and utensils all come out clean.

Clogged or Broken Spray Arms

Having clogged or broken spray arms can be a problem as this is one of the water sources used to clean your dishes. Depending on the model of your dishwasher, you can find the spray arms on the top, middle, and bottom of the dishwasher.

To fix a clogged spray arm, first, shut off the power to the dishwasher. Next, open the dishwasher door and remove the racks. Then remove the spray arm, beginning with the one on top, then the middle, and finally the one on the bottom.

You can remove blockages by using a pointed object, such as a toothpick. First, insert it in each of the holes to remove food particles or hard water build-up. You can then repeat this process for all the spray arms. Once done, you can install each spray arm back inside the dishwasher and test if the water pressure is now strong enough. 

If you have broken spray arms, then you will need to replace them with new ones. Make sure to check the dishwasher’s model number so you are prepared when you go to get the appropriate replacement parts.

Water Inlet Valve Problem

Another possible reason why the dishwasher won't spray water is that it may have a faulty water inlet valve. The inlet valve is what allows the water to be distributed evenly through the spray arms. However, note that the water inlet valve also connects to the hose. This means that food debris and other dirt may get inside and clog it.

Make sure to remove and replace the inlet valve. A new water inlet valve will allow the water supply to flow into the spray arm to flow inside the machine. Take note to clean the inlet valve before installing it. Check out this video for a step-by-step guide.

Clogged Circulation Pump

Sometimes the issue with your dishwasher is that it may simply need new parts. Over time and through wear and tear, replacement parts are necessary. One such part is the circulation pump. Give it a look to see if you can detect a clog. If you can’t see anything, you will need to get a new one or try to fix the one you currently have. Remember that just like any other part, replacing a circulation pump will depend on the model and size of your machine, so it’s important to get the right size.

If you are unsure about what the problem is, it doesn’t hurt to try to unclog it first. If the problem persists, then it’s more than likely the pump that is the issue. This is the easiest way to troubleshoot so you don’t end up buying a new pump when you don’t need it. 

To check for a clogged circulation or water pump, you will need to:

  1. Switch off the dishwasher's power

  2. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws and take off the base or panel under the dishwasher

  3. Remove the circulation pump by taking off the wires connected to it and the hose

  4. Inspect all parts. Remove any obvious blockages, rotate the impeller to see if it still works, and clean if necessary.

  5. Keep in mind, though, that it may contain some excess water, so shake it off! 

  6. Finally, put back the circulation pump or install the new one, screw it back together, and repeat the other steps in reverse to reassemble

  7. Tests the results.

Faulty Water Supply Valve

Another reason why the dishwasher may not be correctly spraying water is that the water supply valve may not be supplying enough water. You can find the water inlet valve at the bottom of the machine. Be sure to check for leaking parts. You might have to repair this or call a maintenance specialist to replace the valve for the water pressure to flow properly. Don't forget to set aside the other parts as you make the necessary repairs to get the dirty stuff out of the dishwasher.

Water Pump Belt Problems

Every dishwasher brand differs from the other, and some of them may include a water pump belt. Check the components of your dishwasher for a pump belt. If it does, then you can remove it. It is normally in the bottom panel. Check it by rotating the pump belt. If it needs a replacement, make note of the dishwasher’s model number. This will come in handy when purchasing a new one from the manufacturer.

Chopper Blade Problems

Though not in every model, there is still a good chance that your dishwasher will have a chopper blade. Food particles may clog the chopper blade, block the water supply from flowing, and fail to wash the dishes inside. This could also stop the water pump from spinning.

Cleaning the chopper blade will require a lot of extra precautions when removing and handling the chopper blade. Wear protective gloves and handle the blade carefully to avoid accidents like cuts and sharp pokes. Keep children and pets away from your workspace when you are fixing the dishwasher for their safety as well.

  1. Unplug the dishwasher from its power source and turn off its water supply before removing the chopper blade. After the power and water have been closed, you can rRemove the chopper blade. 

  2. Carefully remove the panels and piping. Checking for chipped edges, rust, or a broken blade.

  3. If you’ve determined the blade is still in good shape, you can start by cleaning all the food debris off.

  4. Reinstall the blade and spin it to double-check correct installation and proper function.

  5. Reassemble the rest of the parts by following the steps in reverse.

If you are unsure if it needs a replacement, call a technician to consult and ask about the next steps you'll need to take.

Check the Filter

Dishwashers are great at filtering soap and debris, but they can still clog over time. Try removing the filter and washing it with soap and warm water. Let it dry before installing it back inside the dishwasher. Turn 

Read the Dishwasher’s Manual

Dishwashers come with a manual that you can read to familiarize yourself with the appliance parts. The manual contains vital information about your machine to better understand how it works and how you can use it to its full potential. Understanding how your machine works can help you give your appliance a longer lifespan. Manuals will list the appropriate detergent to use, how heavy each load should be, as well as a list of error codes to alert you should you come across any issues with your unit.

Faulty wiring

There is a possibility that the dishwasher is not spraying water due to faulty wiring. To check the wiring, first, turn the power off and close the water supply valve. Then, open the dishwasher's panel to check the wires. If you see obvious signs of faulty or frayed wiring, rather than something that just came loose, it would be best to get an expert technician to replace it.

When All Fails, It’s Time to Consider Buying a New One

Sometimes repairs can be expensive and may even cost as much as a new machine. If your dishwasher still doesn't work after trying the repairs listed above, then maybe it's time to buy a new one. When considering a new dishwasher, check the measurements of the area you'd like to place it in. Take into consideration the brand, price, and how accessible it is. Check shops located near your area if you have questions about the appliance you plan to get.

If you feel that you can still manage with the old dishwasher you have, then, by all means, stick to it and only buy the necessary tools to repair it.

Having a dishwasher saves a lot of time, especially when one is busy working. But it comes with challenges, especially when it needs maintenance. So, clean the dishwasher as much as possible to avoid clogging and water pressure issues. This will help keep it running smoothly to clean your utensils and dishes again and again.

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